The NATO Leaders’ Summit in Brussels started shadowed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s salvos to Germany.
Ahead of the summit, Trump said:
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia.”
We can interpret this statement as:
“After World War II, we were supposedly going to have Germany eat out of our hand. See, that didn’t happen; they don’t act like they were defeated at all. Russia is reaping Germany’s fruits more than we are.”
What Trump is trying to do has now become more foreseeable.
He is trying to reformat the global system that formed in his own country’s police force after 1945 in accordance with the U.S.’s new interests. The reason he is weighing upon Germany so much is that the “established order” brings further responsibilities to the U.S. in terms of both economic and military relations.
Now let’s take a brief pause and ask: What falls to our share from this new period that made it into our vocabulary as the Trump effect?
We can seek an answer to this question through the current state of bilateral relations with the U.S. and likely future-oriented scenarios.
In early June, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had returned from his Washington visit with a Manbij deal.
From our conversations with Minister Çavuşoğlu back in those days, we had reached the conclusion that this deal may be a start to thaw Turkey-U.S. relations.
When we asked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ‘Will we make concessions to the U.S. in exchange for this deal,” in the program we did before the elections, we had received a clear “No” as an answer.
In this case we can determine that there are more cases than one, primarily Manbij, that are not negotiable for Ankara.
The S-400 Air Defense System issue is also like this.
Turkey and Russia completed their negotiations, the delivery calendar was moved to an earlier date, and a portion of the money for the missiles was also paid. Hence, turning back from this point is out of the question. Çavuşoğlu underlined the same matter in his latest statement in Brussels anyway, saying, “The first batteries will be delivered toward the end of the next year. At the end of the day, there is no need to question this anymore.”
It seems that the U.S. side is trying to keep the “concession option” warm to take action with respect to matters in which Ankara awaits steps to be taken, not to make negotiations. And the first thing that comes to mind in terms of concession is obvious:
“Turkey should back down from buying the S-400 despite having finalized the deal and making part of the payment.”
“Because that’s just what we want.”
It is also possible to interpret Çavuşoğlu’s Brussels statement as a precautionary action toward expressing Turkey’s position before the Erdoğan-Trump meeting. In other words, the message given was that negotiation is off the table.
I have to add something else regarding the communication aspect of the matter.
As much as using the “open diplomacy” channel in a way that will also correspond with Çavuşoğlu’s tone gives Ankara the upper hand, it challenges the other side. Because there is an extremely valuable argument such as “being right” at hand.
Turkey needs to urgently strengthen its defense system. It made requests from the U.S. for this on many occasions, but could not get a positive response. Russia was approached upon this and Moscow decided to share its technology by selling the missiles it produced to Turkey. Now, the U.S. wants the referee to stop and blow the whistle mid-game and start all over again. But Ankara wants the game to continue from where it stopped.
The U.S., which wants to carry on negotiations with Turkey in a “closed atmosphere,” is insisting on approaching the matter in terms of being right. It’s saying nothing else but “back down from this.”
Because it wants the unilateral military dependency relation with Turkey to continue. When business is carried on via open diplomacy, look how clearly everything can be understood.